Pro Airline Packing Tips
When you do long biking or hiking trips, packing right is critical to a good trip. I have been doing international treks for decades now, here are my pro packing tips.
- passport and cash go in neck wallet, nowhere else
- a small backpack carries everything you *must* have for the trip
- a carry-on legal rollerbag carries everything else. This bag might have to be checked so be prepared never to see this bag again. If you are going international or have a lot of connections, the likelihood of a lost bag rises dramatically.
To stay warm a shell windbreaker that packs into its own pocket for the outer layer and then as many layers of polypropylene shirts or fuzzy jackets to stay warm. Dont overpack!
What you are wearing plus ONE set of spares. Every day you do laundry in your sink. This may sound extreme but clothes take up a lot of room and its very easy to do laundry every day.
I love cotton but not for this kind of trip – all artificial fibers is what you want. Cotton takes too long to dry. Shirts and pants all artificial fibers. The best pants are ones where the legs zip off to allow the pants to serve as shorts or long pants. REI is a great place to buy these.
Packing the clothes is best done by rolling them tightly. Lay pants down and lay all other clothes on them then roll them up. Use a packing strap to keep the roll cinched up tight.
My rule is that clothes should take up no more than 1/3 of the luggage space.
What? Why would you pack food? Lots of great reasons, especially if you are fitness minded. During the flight, you can be at the mercy of airport junk for several days which is a really bad way to start a trip. During the trip, you may want some protein supplements if you are like me and workout during your bike/hiking trips. At a minimum I would suggest packing a dozen protein bars for your transit days. Depending on the nature of the trip and the country you are in, you might also need to bring some protein suppleemtns for each day. Actually bringing along 60g of protein powder for each day takes up very little room in the luggage. Its usually easy to find food but its often not easy to get enough protein without blowing your caloric budget, especially in Asia.
At a minimum, take your smart phone for pictures and videos, thats the easiest and most compact. Next up would be a GoPro Hero 4 Black if you want a very compact, high quality 4k video camera. If you want near pro quality photos and video, go with a micro four thirds camera like the Panasonic GH4. Its much smaller and lighter than the SLR equivalent like the Canon 5D Mark III and takes nearly as good of pictures. You have to be hardcore to carry a 5D Mark III.
I have given up on credit cards and ATM cards. Seems so easy but only in theory. Each time I have told my bank the country I was going to and they ASSURED me all would work fine … then without fail any ATM machine I shove my card in, the card is retained and I am told to “contact my bank”. Stick with cash and just put it in your neck wallet with your passport. Take a credit card for emergencies but dont plan on it working. Credit card companies are so worried about fraud these days that they make it really hard to make legitimate purchases.